Researching the politics of development



State-movement partnership in Uganda: Co-producing an enabling environment for urban poverty reduction?

Working paper 98

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Sophie King and Peter Kasaija
An increasing body of knowledge is emerging about the ways in which the co-production of basic services can open up space for inclusive development and enhance state effectiveness in the global South. Limited evidence exists, however, about the particular forms of political relationship and programmes that are most likely to generate pro-poor outcomes and more enabling conditions for inclusive urban development. Through the lens of 12 months’ qualitative research into the Transforming Settlements of the Urban Poor in Uganda (TSUPU) programme, this paper examines what has shaped state vision, commitment and capacity for the co-production of urban poverty reduction in a low-income and neo-patrimonial regime. The discussion concludes that TSUPU (and successor programme partnerships) represents a pocket of effectiveness which has opened up spaces of political opportunity for moving towards more inclusive urban development planning and service delivery approaches. The constraints on this political opportunity being exploited to its full potential are significant and will require substantial regulatory and institutional change, in addition to sustained investment in movement building, to contribute to reducing urban poverty at scale.